6 Playground Resources That Will Enhance Role Play Activities
Role Play is a crucial activity that many children participate in every day. However, many people don’t fully appreciate the benefits of role play on childhood development.
Did you know that by participating in role play and promoting it in your school playground or nursery garden had so many benefits to the young children in your care?
Role play can be anything from playing a classical game of ‘Cops and Robbers’ to children pretending to be their favourite Paw Patrol rescue dog about to jump into action and protect the community.
Role play activities transport children into an imaginary world and into a character’s shoes – fictional or non-fictional. Their are so many amazing benefits tio a child's development which includes their creativuityand cognitive development while also develop social skills, communication, language and physical skills.
We have created a stimulating list of 6 playground resources that inspire child led role play in your playground. Alternatively these can be used by teachers and practitioners to lead the play to target topics of learning, develop specific skills and enhance children’s vocabulary or language.
Playhouses are a fantastic resource for role play activities as they provide the perfect open-ended addition to your playground, inspiring numerous child or adult led role play activities.
If the interest of the day is based around superheroes, the playhouse can be transformed into a spooky villain lair. Children can sneak around the playhouse working out how to get into the villains lair, aiming to prevent their evil plan from taking place.
Once children have snuck into the lair, they can use the chalkboard to work out the evil plan that’s about to take place or use water and paintbrushes to remove any information on the board: contributing towards fine motor skills and dexterity development.
Teachers and practitioners can encourage role play games to target certain subjects or develop topical language. Transforming the playhouse into a wonderful shop full of produce will naturally draw children to the playhouse to price and sell products.
Playing as shopkeepers and customers will develop children’s mathematical knowledge as they count change, use concepts like addition and subtraction or simply begin to recognise coins.
Play money and other small objects are also perfect for physical development as the children count out another’s change before carefully picking each coin up and handing it to another child - developing fine motor skills, co-ordination and dexterity.
The chalkboard built into the back of the Playhouse is an amazing feature to use during role play activities to encourage children to develop early literacy skills and expressive arts.
2. Den Making Posts
Den Making Posts and other den making resources inspire children to create anything that comes to mind.
Whether children want to use the den making holes to thread pretend fire hoses through or the tops of the posts to hang their high vis vests and construction hats, our den making equipment sparks children's creativity as they build dens, transform the zone into a construction area, fire station or anything else they can imagine.
Although our den making posts don’t only inspire role play. The den making holes contribute towards the development of fine motor skills as they work to thread props or materials through the holes. Teamwork is required to create wonderful, creative dens or imaginative settings as they work together to build the creation in mind.
As not every child will have the same image in mind, children’s communication and language skills advance as they explain their ideas to others. Problem solving comes into play when they work together to bring their creations to life whether they have to work out how the resources stretch to fit through all the holes or how they can reach the higher holes in the posts.
Den making activities are a magnificent way to inspire role play in an outdoor learning environment while developing other key skills.
3. Outdoor Performance Stage
Performance Stages are a brilliant open-ended resource that inspire children to participate in role play, imaginative games and cross curricular activities: a fantastic way to develop children’s key skills.
Props can be provided to provoke children’s creativity or focus the role play on a topic of learning. The addition of resources such as musical equipment will encourage children to work together to begin their own band, exploring music and rhythm.
Children will naturally use the musical instruments to create their own music and encourage others to come and watch their performance: developing confidence, self-esteem, language and communication skills.
Through the addition of props such as wands, swords or play money, children’s key physical skills will progress depending on the action they are performing.
Wands and swords will develop children’s gross motor skills as they wave them around, pretending to be vikings from the past or magical wizards about to cast a spell. Smaller resources, like play money, develops children's fine motor skills as they involve them in their role play games.
As our Performance Stages can include den making posts, chalkboards or mirrors, schools can target areas of the curriculum while providing a stimulating resource.
Including mirrors inspire children to transform the stage into a dressing up area to enhance their role play games - trying on new clothes during a shopping trip, advancing their understanding of the world and independence as they dress up.
Fine motor skills and co-ordination are refined as children fiddle with the costumes provided; button, velcro and zip additions evolve these crucial skills needed for writing. Determined to put a cape on to further enhance their role play game, children will have to close the velcro to ensure their costume stays on throughout the game.
Children’s understanding of the world advances as they work to independently dress up in costumes, transferring these skills to dressing and undressing themselves without much assistance.
Chalkboards and den making posts encourage children to further develop their fine motor skills. They will use the chalkboard to enhance their imaginative games, drawing settings or threading and weaving materials through the den making holes to create imaginative settings for their games.
4. Climbing Frames
Motivate role play activities through thrilling, enormous climbing frames.
Our Log Climbing Frames are a perfect addition to any outdoor learning environment attempting to inspire role play. As the climbing frame logs are rounded, they help children relate the frame to tree branches. This encourages children to role play characters such as Tarzan as they climb and swing from the ropes pretending they are trees in the deep, mysterious jungle.
Children will also use our climbing frames to act out different scenes from TV shows, movies or stories such as Curious George, transforming these scenes into their own imaginative adventure – you never know what’s around the bend, a big adventure or a brand new friend, when you're curious, like Curious George.
Role play on a magnificent climbing frame will certainly develop children’s social skills, communication and language skills while also advancing physical skills like gross and fine motor skills, upper and lower body strength, balance and co-ordination.
5. Playground Markings
Playground Markings, such as roadways, are a creative way to encourage role play without taking up much precious space in your playground.
Roadways will not only transform children into an imaginary world of race cars and race tracks, it will also develop children’s understanding of road safety: a very important subject.
Children will race their bikes, trikes and scooters around the roadway attempting to come in 1st place in the Piston Cup. This develops friendly competitiveness and lower body strength.
Focus. Speed. I am speed.
Those who may have watched race car movies such as Cars may advance their role play further as they participate in activities including acting out pit stops, having to recall information they have seen on TV shows and during movies, contributing towards cognitive development.
Teachers and practitoners can use playground markings and children’s interests to enhance their learning. Targeting fine motor skills, adults can use giant mark making panels to task children with marking down who wins each race to also encourage letter recognition and dexterity development.
Road safety is a very important topic of learning, a great way to teach and implant the information into children’s minds is through role play and imaginative games. If children are taught important road safety rules and are then tasked with implementing these onto their own road way, it will help children remember what they have been taught.
These could include looking both ways for bikes and trikes before crossing the roadway as they would with cars outside the playground.
6. Messy Play Equipment
Messy play can be defined as any activity where children can use resources or investigate anything that can create a bit of mess.
From Mud Kitchens to Sand Boxes and Tables, role play can be inspired through any of these exciting resources. Using a mud kitchen, children can transport themselves into a bakery to create amazing cakes and goods that can be sold in the shop (possibly the Giant Playhouse).
As the Mud Kitchen features fantastic cupboards, the kitchen comes to life in your playground. Children can pretend that the mud kitchen is actually in a restaurant and they are against the clock to the get the food out to the hungry customers outdoors, having to quickly cook the food and get the dishes on the serving shelf.
Adult led activities can include tasking children with writing their mud pie recipes on the chalkboard counter top, or drawing the ingredients they have used: contributing towards literacy and fine motor skill development.
Teachers can also take pretend play one step further, building teamwork and social skills by transforming the playground into a restaurant.
The children can follow recipes to create dishes for their customers before working with their fellow chefs to serve the food they have created. This pretend play activity enhances children’s teamwork skills and introduces them to mathematical concepts.
Sand Play Resources are a magnificent way to stimulate exciting role play activities in your playground. Children will instinctively associate the sand with pirates or the sea side; naturally developing imaginative, role play games in line with these topics.
Children may become pirates searching the playground for hidden treasure, working together to uncover the riches buried deep in the sand box or transport themselves to the seaside, creating magnificent sand structures. Scooping, digging and manipulating materials like sand develops dexterity and fine motor skills.
If you want expert advice or high quality products to encourage role play in your EYFS environment, please Contact Us. One of our wonderful EYFS playground consultants would be happy to come and view your playground. For further inspiration, view our full range of products here.